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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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All-boys Smothers Academy given permission to lease vacant West Bank Jefferson Parish public school

A new Jefferson Parish charter school that was approved by the state last year has received permission to rent a vacant public school building on the West Bank. The new school, called Smothers Academy, still has to work out with the Jefferson Parish School Board how long the lease will last and how much it will cost.… Continue reading →

Lusher administration calls unionizing drive divisive, power grab

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Lusher Charter School's Alcee Fortier Campus is seen in New Orleans, La. Thursday, April 14, 2016.

The head of Lusher Charter School and her administrative team have come out swinging against the push to unionize teachers at the high-performing New Orleans magnet school, calling the move a divisive power grab that won’t benefit students. It’s the first big showdown between school managers and the union that used to represent local educators before… Continue reading →

Louisiana expected to tweak rules on training new teachers

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  The George Washington Carver drumline brings the beat to the Recovery School District (RSD) and Collegiate Academies 'celebration of the opening of the new Edward Livingston building located at 7301 Dwyer Road on Thursday, August 27, 2015. Carver is using the site now but will move to another facility next year. Livingston cost $29 million dollars to build and was funded through FEMA. The building is 107,000 square feet and is designed to handle 718 students.

Louisiana education officials are considering changing teacher licensing requirements, two years after the state implemented an experimental program aimed at shoring up new teachers’ classroom skills. The program, dubbed Believe and Prepare, was launched in 2014 with five school districts, two charter school organizations and five “preparation providers,” which may be universities or alternative certification programs.… Continue reading →

Another New Orleans charter school seeks unionization, bringing the tally to 4

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Mohammad Jodah, holding a  cane, Bilal Nassar, Malik Abuali, Mohamed Mohamed and Amir Al-Shathri perform a Moroccan dance on Jan. 13 at the International High School of New Orleans.

Teachers at another local charter school, the International High School of New Orleans, are pushing to unionize, hoping among other things to improve their job security in a city where most teachers now are at-will employees. Teachers announced Wednesday that more than 70 percent of the faculty have asked the school’s governing board to recognize them… Continue reading →

Lusher Charter School board rejects petition from teachers seeking to unionize

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Lusher Charter School's Alcee Fortier Campus is seen in New Orleans, La. Thursday, April 14, 2016.

Amid questions about whether the drive had the support of a majority of the faculty, a narrowly divided Lusher Charter School governing board refused Saturday to recognize a petition from a group of the school’s teachers hoping to form a union. Instead, teachers will hold an open election in the near future to either affirm or reject… Continue reading →

Field at West Jefferson football stadium named after Ray Latoof, coach of legendary championship team

West Jefferson High School yearbook page honoring Ray Latoof, who is embracing the state football championship he and his team won in 1970 (courtesy of Wade Perrin)

To many who have heard it, the tale of how Ray Latoof guided the 1970 West Jefferson High School football team to a state championship after the squad’s coach died in his arms deserves a Hollywood film. But no movie has been made. So Latoof’s admirers recently decided to preserve his story in another way, petitioning… Continue reading →

Divided Jefferson School Board defeats plan for $100s of millions in new buildings, renovations; now what?

A sharply divided Jefferson Parish School Board on Thursday defeated a plan to build hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of new academic buildings for a school district whose facilities have an average age of 52 years. The plan — totaling as much as $1 billion over four five-year phases — would have… Continue reading →

Chapelle High School names new principal, who has been serving as interim principal

Leila Benoit

Archbishop Chapelle High School will have a new permanent principal for the 2016-17 academic year, though her face will be familiar to the faculty and students. Leila Benoit, 34, has been named the principal for the 700-student, all-girls Catholic high school in Metairie after serving an interim stint in that position, the Archdiocese… Continue reading →

Advocates press for bill to cut suspension rates in Louisiana public schools

A bill aimed at reducing out-of-school suspensions in Louisiana will get its first hearing at the Legislature on Wednesday. It would require any local school district or charter school that suspends students at particularly high rates to come up with a plan for reforming its disciplinary practices. The legislation, introduced by state Rep. Walt Leger, D-New… Continue reading →

Poll finds more support than opposition for returning New Orleans schools to local control

Support for returning New Orleans public schools to local control outweighed opposition to the idea in a Tulane University poll released Monday, just as state lawmakers are considering different bills that would do just that. Overall, 51 percent of the New Orleans residents polled said they favor some kind of return of all schools to… Continue reading →

Proposals to return New Orleans schools to local board create new divisions among education backers

Senator Karen Carter Peterson

Almost everyone involved seems to agree that public schools in New Orleans should return to local control — that the voice of local voters in education should be restored after more than a decade of supervision by state officials. But little goes uncontested in the realm of public education, and the details of how that return… Continue reading →

Jefferson public schools progressing even amid leadership shifts, business leaders say

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Nine year old JaJuan Barbain, center, raises his hand to answer a question posed by incoming Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent Isaac Joseph at Ella Pittman Elementary School in Harvey. Joseph was there to greet students at arrival and then toured the pre-k-5 school. April 16, 2015

Over the past five years, the state performance ranking for Jefferson Parish public schools has climbed from 51st to 32nd among Louisiana school districts, which is cause for celebration, business and civic leaders said Friday. The news was detailed in a report from the nonprofit Jefferson Community Foundation, which commissioned the New Orleans consulting firm GCR… Continue reading →

Teachers at Lusher Charter School want to join local teachers union

Photo provided by Louisiana Federation of Teachers LFT attendees -- Educators from the United Teachers of New Orleans who were among those who attended the Louisiana Federation of Teachers convention recently held in Alexandria are, from left, Leoance Williams, Judy Russell, LFT President Steve Monaghan, Carolyn Durall and UTNO President Larry Carter Jr.

More than a decade after Hurricane Katrina led to radical New Orleans education reforms that crippled the city’s once-powerful teachers union, a third charter school’s faculty wants to rejoin that union’s fold. A majority of the teachers at Lusher Charter School, a high-performing Uptown school encompassing kindergarten through 12th grade, signed a petition to join the… Continue reading →

All St. John Parish public, Catholic schools closed Wednesday; St. James schools delayed due to weather

Update, 8:25 a.m.
St. Charles Catholic High School in St. Charles Parish will be closed Wednesday. Update, 8 a.m. St. James Parish schools will begin late today. High schools will start at 10:30 a.m., and elementary schools will start at 11:30 a.m. Buses will begin picking up high schools students at 9:30 a.m. All Head Start classes… Continue reading →

Xavier names former Tulane associate dean Anne McCall as new provost

Anne McCall, new Provost of Xavier

Xavier University has chosen a French literary scholar and veteran college administrator to serve as its next provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. Anne McCall will be coming from Binghamton University in New York state, but she spent nearly two decades at Tulane University, where she served as an associate dean in the School… Continue reading →

Louisiana’s online charter schools trying to fend off financial, other challenges

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Rose Fernandez, founding director of "ITrustParents.org", right, talks with Macie Zoble, left, from Lafayette, as Riley Zoble, 8, foreground, listens, at the State Capital Building. Students and parents from across Louisiana meet to rally for virtual education at the state capitol in Baton Rouge. The event, hosted by the Louisiana chapter of PublicSchoolOptions.org (PSO), will bring together families that benefit from school choice, specifically public virtual schools. The rally will be an opportunity for attendees to meet with legislators to share their personal stories about why school choice is important to their families and learn about pending legislation that could affect the future of the stateÕs virtual schools.  Senate Bill 149 threatens to cut funding for the stateÕs virtual schools by 50% even though they are public schools and should be funded at the same levels as traditional brick and mortar schools. House Bill 879 threatens to close schools like Louisiana Virtual Academy and Louisiana Connections Academy, affecting thousands of students and families, and House Bill 652 also puts funding of these public schools at risk.

A couple of years ago, Macie Zoble and her son were in crisis. The Lafayette woman had done everything in her power to keep Riley, then a kindergartner, stable enough to simply finish a traditional school day. To combat his severe type of bipolar disorder — which mimicked attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and set teachers… Continue reading →

Momentum builds for end of state control over New Orleans schools; legislative bill attracts support

More than 10 years after Hurricane Katrina cleared a path for the momentous state takeover of public schools in New Orleans, remaking education here in a widely scrutinized experiment with autonomous charter schools, local educators and lawmakers are negotiating legislation that could bring the era of state control to a close. In the years since the… Continue reading →

New Orleans public school enrollment results delayed; RSD says influx of Pre-K programs is culprit

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Students at Arthur Ashe, an independent charter school run by the group FirstLine Schools.

Update, 4/11/16: Parents will receive their children’s school assignments the week of April 11-15, the Recovery School District said. Thousands of New Orleans families were left on edge this week after public school officials said they were postponing notifications about which campuses students will attend next school year. The city’s… Continue reading →

‘A real loss for kids’: Adrian Morgan, former N.O. charter schools chief, found dead in home

Photo provided by Delgado Community College -- Signing on to a dual enrollment agreement allowing high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit at Delgado Community College are, from left, Mike Delesdernier, James Meza Jr., Denis Rousselle, Joan Y. Davis, Adrian Morgan and Gail Audrict.

Adrian Morgan, a prominent figure in the New Orleans charter school movement, was found dead Thursday in his Uptown home, the Orleans Parish coroner confirmed. No cause of death has been announced. Morgan, 44, was best known in New Orleans education circles for his more than three years as chief executive of the Algiers… Continue reading →

New UNO President John Nicklow plans to make growing enrollment his top priority

John Nicklow

There’s a lot that goes into being a university president, but job No. 1 for John Nicklow, recently named to the top post at the University of New Orleans, is pretty clear: Find more students. UNO is in a tenuous place. Its enrollment is less than half of what it was before… Continue reading →

Adrian Morgan, former New Orleans charter chief, is leading Baton Rouge charter group

Photo provided by Delgado Community College -- Signing on to a dual enrollment agreement allowing high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit at Delgado Community College are, from left, Mike Delesdernier, James Meza Jr., Denis Rousselle, Joan Y. Davis, Adrian Morgan and Gail Audrict.

Adrian Morgan, the former chief executive of the embattled Algiers Charter School Association in New Orleans, is now the Louisiana executive director of the Friendship Education Foundation, a national charter management group. The foundation manages one Louisiana charter school, Friendship Capitol High in Baton Rouge, and schools in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.… Continue reading →